The Megalo Box Season 3 anime TV series could take the story of Gearless Joe to its final conclusion. But when will Megalo Box 3 come out?
The Champion Joe 50th Anniversary Project was handled by anime studio TMS Entertainment. (The company is also producing the Dr. STONE Season 2 anime and the Fruits Basket Season 3 anime, while TMS subsidiary produced the Tower of God anime).
The main staff and studio haven’t been announced yet for the third season. Presumably, Megalo Box Season 3 will feature a returning anime studio staff at TMS Entertainment.
For the second season, director You Moriyama (Attack On Titan, Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress concept designer) helmed the project, while Katsuhiko Manabe and Kensaku Kojima wrote the scripts together once again. Mabanua returned as the music composer.
The biggest change to the staff was the position of the character designer. Hiroshi Shimizu was replaced by Ayumi Kurashima (DEVILMAN Crybaby), with Naomi Kaneda acting as the sub-character designer.
Returning Japanese voice cast members included Yoshimasa Hosoya as Gearless Joe/Nomad, Shiro Saito as Gansaku Nanbu, Hiroki Yasumoto as Yuri, and Michiyo Murase as Sachio.
The Megalo Box Season 3 opening (OP) and ending (ED) theme song music have not yet been announced.
For the second season, Nomad, composer Mabanua created the OP “The theme of the NOMAD”, while the ED was named “El Canto del Colibrí (The Song of the Hummingbird)”.
The second season’s finale, Megalo Box Season 2 Episode 13, released on June 27, 2021.
This article provides everything that is known about Megalo Box Season 3 (Megalobox Season 3) and all related news. As such, this article will be updated over time with news, rumors, and analysis. Meanwhile, let’s delve down into what is known for certain.
Megalobox Season 2 Blu-Ray includes an extra animated short
Megalobox 2 Blu-Ray box set is coming out in Japan on July 28, 2021. It will include all 13 episodes plus a bonus animated short episode.
The bonus animation will be based on the “Las alas del viajero (The Traveler’s Wings” picture book that appears in the anime’s second season.
FUNimation’s Megalo Box Season 2 English dub release date
In Spring 2021, the Nomad: Megalo Box Season 2 anime was streaming with English subtitles on FUNimation. Netflix and Hulu are streaming the first season with an English dub.
FUNimation’s Megalobox Season 2 dub continued with the same cast.
- Kaiji Tang as Joe
- Jason Marnocha as Nanbu
- Chris Guerrero as Chief
- Erica Mendez as Sachio (younger)
- Clifford Chapin as Sachio (older)
- Michelle Ruff as Oicho
- Greg Chun as Aragaki
- Morgan Berry as Santa (younger)
- Josh Grelle as Santa (older)
- Laila Berzins Bonjiri (younger)
- Dallas Reid as Bonjiri (older)
- Taylor Henry as Fukimaki
- Kirk Allen as Abuhachi
- Jalitza Delgado as Mara
- Kevin Thelwell as Mio
The Nomad: Megalo Box Season 2 English dub release date was on June 3, 2021.
Megalobox Season 3 release date predictions: Another sequel possible?
As of the last update, TMS Entertainment or any company related to the anime production has not officially confirmed the Megalo Box Season 3 release date. Nor has the production of a Megalo Box 3 sequel been announced.
Once the news is officially confirmed this article will be updated with the relevant information.
In the meantime, it’s possible to speculate about when, or if, the Megalobox Season 3 release date will occur in the future.
The second season was superior in every way to the first, which was fun but still came off as feeling rehashed despite the unique element of the Gears. Nomad defied formulaic expectations and well-trodden tropes by diving back into the world of box with a character-driven story where the outcomes of the matches were not entirely predictable.
Hopefully, the second season’s Blu-Ray sales in Japan increase in relation to the quality. Despite good reviews for the first season, BD disc sales numbers for the first season were terrible.
Apparently, the anime was popular enough with Western audiences that the streaming revenue justified a sequel. Notably, the announcement of Nomad was made in New York City and not Japan, which just goes to show how streaming revenue from worldwide audiences has impacted the Japanese anime industry in recent years. Let’s just hope Nomad, which has higher review scores, can replicate that success.
The elephant in the room is that the Nomad anime is an original story that’s only very loosely on the Ashita no Joe manga series. Thus, Megalo Box Season 3 depends on whether the second season ends in a way that allows the anime to finish the story in a way that mirrors the original.
How Megalo Box changed the Ashita no Joe manga
The ending of Megalo Box Episode 13 stayed true to the Ashita no Joe manga series that the anime is loosely based on and left an opening for a sequel. The question is if Nomad will do the same and leave the door open for Megalo Box 3.
Ashita no Joe is iconic enough that most anime fans will recognize the name even if they have not watched any of the episodes. At its peak in popularity in Japan, the tragic hero Joe Yabuki represented the struggle of the Japanese lower class, so it has influenced many a modern-day animator.
The Ashita no Joe anime has been referenced by many other popular modern anime including Dragon Ball Z, Berserk, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, Kill la Kill, and Gurren Lagann.
The Ashita no Joe anime was based on a 20-volume manga series by writer Asao Takamori and illustrated by Tetsuya Chiba that was serialized in Weekly Shonen Magazine from 1968 to 1973. The 70’s anime adaptation ran for 79 episodes and received a 1980 anime movie that acted as a bridge to the second season, Ashita no Joe 2. There have also been two live-action films, including a 2011 remake.
The Megalo Box anime is more of a reimagining of the story rather than a modern remake. Joe Yabuki is replaced by Junk Dog, who lives in a dystopian future where the gap between the social classes is actually higher. Junk Dog’s foe, Megalo boxing champion Yuri, is already on the top of his game in comparison to the original’s Toru Rikiishi, who actually met Joe while serving time in prison.
Regardless, the basic premise is about the same since the beginning has Yuri/Rikiishi challenging a beaten Junk Dog/Joe to a future fight as a professional boxer. Similarly, Junk Dog lacked the citizenship credentials necessary to fight in the Megalonia tournament while Joe had trouble gaining a boxing license.
Junk Dog took on the name Joe largely because he wanted to take a swipe at the upper class, whom Yuri definitely represents since his exoskeleton-like integrated Gear is the pinnacle of boxing technology produced by the Megalonia sponsor Shirato Group.
“If there is human drama that continues to be vivid even with the changes in times, it might also be able to evoke empathy. I heard that a variety of projects are being prepared on the occasion of the 50th anniversary,” Tetsuya Chiba wrote about the Megalo Box anime.
“I am very proud to be a part of a series that has been loved for such a long time and at the same time I am very thankful to the fans who keep loving Joe, even after such a long time. The new anime Megalo Box is being produced by such people, who love Ashita no Joe. I am looking forward to this work, that will fit the current generation. It will be a completely new thing but will also has a core of ubiquity.”
The ending of Megalo Box Episode 13 was apparently not intended to capture the feeling of the entire Ashita no Joe manga in one anime season. Instead, the new series’ story ran parallel to the manga’s major events. In the original story, Rikiishi was multiple weight classes above Joe, so this rival was forced to undertake extreme measures to lose weight at the expense of his health.
Similarly, Yuri wished to bring himself down to the “weight class” of “Gearless” Joe so he surgically removed his Gear for the big fight. Yuri’s actions fit the anime’s theme of fighting ability being based more on the boxer rather than the Gear. Stripping Yuri of his integrated Gear was very dangerous, but unlike with Rikiishi, Yuri’s death was not the final culmination of the Megalobox anime.
In the new anime, Yuri lives on and even works with Gearless Joe. But in the original manga, Rikiishi dies in the ring because of his poor health and a hard blow landed by Joe. The death of Rikiishi was such a big deal that Japanese fans actually held a real-life funeral for the character.
The story in Nomad was even more loosely based on the Ashita no Joe manga series. While the first season was the typical shonen underdog boxer story of Junk Dog growing into Gearless Joe, Nomad instead subverted expectations by telling a new story greater than the first season.
In an interview with Anime News Network, director Yo Moriyama and writers Katsuhiko Manabe and Kensaku Kojima explained how the second season went in this new direction.
“If Joe’s most sparkling moment was when he defeated Yuri and took the Megalobox crown, then what happens after?” said the director. “If we were to focus on themes that weren’t depicted in the previous work, then there would be meaning in a sequel. That’s how we began thinking of the story.”
It turns out absolutely no one had considered a sequel before it was proposed by the producer. Starting with a blank slate, they eventually focused on the word “unforgiven” in reference to Joe and “constructed a story that hinges on Joe restarting his life after losing his home and family due to his own mistakes” and “Joe wandering the underground as he shoulders his sins”.
“Those miraculous three months when he climbed to the top of Megalobox were nothing more than a checkpoint in his life,” writer Manabe explained. “As long as you’re alive, life goes on. That universal theme had a feedback effect on us the creators as well. We decided together to depict reality and society head-on, without turning our eyes from it. I think that thoughtfulness, as well as the ambiguity, is what gives the story of Nomad its feeling of realism and passion.”
Writer Kojima says the anime mirrors the Ashita no Joe manga to a limited degree. In the manga, “Joe was burnt out like white ash” at the ending, but while anime Joe didn’t die he was “burnt out in a certain sense.” Nomad’s plot was about answering the question, “What would make Joe get into the ring once more in that state?”
The anime also tackled the heavy topics of immigration and racial discrimination. Although the anime’s story seemed to based on the southern border of the United States, the writers pulled ideas from news, documentaries, Kurdish asylum seekers in Japan, and Japanese immigrants to locations like Brazil and Peru.
“It may be difficult to stop the vicious cycle of fear born from ignorance, but I wanted to make a stand, however slight,” Manabe said. “That’s the feeling I poured into the story. If the story resonates, then I consider my prayers granted. I may be a pessimist, but I don’t want to drag down the ideals I’ve touted with reality.”
While the theme of immigration struggles took a backseat to Joe facing his inner demons after Episode 4, it should be noted that his final opponent Mac is an immigrant.
The final story arc then focused on themes of restoration and destructive machismo that mirrored Joe’s relationship with Chief. But it’s possible that Megalobox Season 3 could return to its roots with an ending that’s been foreshadowed since the first episode.
Why Megalobox 3 is necessary to continue the story theme of death
The Megolobox anime’s story has been preoccupied with death. The first season was literally a countdown to doom with death flags that never came to fruition.
The titles of episodes were always referencing death or dying, and the end of each episode blatantly stated, “Not dead yet…” However, even though characters were always mentioning being killed in the ring, no one was actually really dying.
Nomad changed all that. The second season’s premise was based on Nanbu’s death and its impact on Team Nowhere. Chief died despite being one of the central characters of the first story arc about the immigrants. Liu didn’t die but he’s crippled.
Will Nomad aka Joe die next? The cliffhanger ending of Episode 10 certainly seems to be foreshadowing something is seriously wrong with the boxer ahead of his big match with Mac.
Joe even utters a major death flag by saying, “Rest assured, this will be my final match.”
Thus, it’s very possible that Joe’s death will cap off the series. After all, such an ending is expected assuming Megalobox follows the path already tread by Ashita no Joe’s ending.
Gearless Joe’s fate will likely mirror that of the main Ashita no Joe anime character, which ended in an unexpected manner. In the original story, Yabuki Joe revealed that he was suffering from Punch Drunk Syndrome and then after his final fight Yabuki Joe apparently succumbed, although that’s not made completely clear.
Audiences and readers were stunned by this ending at the time and it’s still debated to this day what really happened in the final scene. In a 2015 interview, Chiba explained how the Ashita no Joe ending came to be.
“I didn’t exactly plan it that way… At the very last minute, I was panicking because I didn’t know what I should do for the last scene. My editor brought an earlier volume and said, ‘Read this episode one more time.’ I had started to forget about all the things I’d drawn before because I didn’t go back and re-read them.”
“The part he wanted me to read was the scene where Joe and Noriko have a date in the park [and Joe tells Noriko, ‘I’m going to burn so bright and so red I’ll dazzle everyone. All that will be left is pure white ash.’] When I read that again, a scene with a pure white Joe sitting on a stool in the corner of the ring popped into my head. My editor had given me a great hint at the last minute, just before the deadline! There was hardly enough time left to draw it!”
Fortunately, Megalobox Season 2 Episode 11 did clarify that Joe is not suffering from Punch Drunk Syndrome. Joe doesn’t seem to have the reoccurring headaches indicative of the medical condition CTE (Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy). And the kids have made it very clear they’ll throw in the towel if necessary.
From a thematic perspective, to spend the whole season resolving Joe’s family issue with the kids just to end in Joe’s death doesn’t make any sense. How would dying in the ring make things right with his family? It wouldn’t so the anime will likely subvert our expectations.
If anything, the hummingbird’s song is leading Mac to his death, not Joe. To end Joe’s story here would be a curveball where the tragedy serves no purpose in storytelling, whereas Mac’s death continues the theme of the Hummingbird and the Nomad in The Traveler’s Wings (Las alas del viajero) picture storybook.
“As the wind whirled by, a hummingbird appeared before the nomad as they made their way through the wasteland. ‘Will you listen to my song, Nomad?’ asked the hummingbird. ‘I’m in a hurry. Ask someone else,’ replied the nomad. But the hummingbird just wouldn’t give up and pursued the nomad. ‘Please. I must sing my song,’ the bird said. ‘You’re rather selfish. Sorry, but I’m just not in the mood,’ said the nomad. ‘I’m on a journey to die.’ The hummingbird said, ‘But that’s ridiculous. Who goes on a journey to die?’ ‘It’s the truth. Why would I bother lying before I died?” replied the nomad. But the hummingbird refused to give up. ‘Then how about this? If I can make you lie, listen to my song. If I fail to do so, I will say no more.'”
“Wanting to be freed from the persistent pest, the nomad agreed. ‘Why do you want to die?’ asked the hummingbird. ‘Because I lost everything,’ the nomad said, but the hummingbird insisted, ‘That’s a lie.’ ‘But it’s not a lie,’ the nomad explained. ‘I lost my home, my fortune… and my family died from illness. I’ve got nothing left.’ The hummingbird replied, ‘No. You still have eyes to see me and ears to hear my song. You even have a mouth to speak to me.’ ‘Yes, you’re right.’ Though the nomad felt that he had been duped, the nomad admitted defeat. ‘All right, I lose.’ The nomad didn’t want any more trouble and stopped to hear the hummingbird’s song. The voice was so beautiful, that it filled the nomad’s empty heart with a gentle warmth just for a moment. After it had finished its song, the hummingbird flew towards the ray of sunlight that was peeking through the clouds.”
There are consequences to actions in the anime’s narrative. In the first story arc, Joe was Nomad and Chief was the hummingbird. When Chief died, he passed his role of the hummingbird onto Joe both figuratively and literally since Chief’s gear worn by Joe has the hummingbird. Joe’s Nomad, his weak and broken self, is put to rest in a grave.
By the end of the second season, Joe becomes the hummingbird to Mac. The fallen hero cop restarted his boxing career so his young son could see him as a Megaloboxer, but now Mac has alienated his family and offers a contrast to Joe, who realized that his family in Team Nowhere takes priority over boxing.
Mac’s death would also allow Megalo Box Season 3 to resume adapting the overall narrative of the Ashita no Joe manga series. In the original story, Yabuki Joe was traumatized by Rikiishi’s accidental death and he began to develop serious problems with his boxing.
Yabuki Joe experienced a late growth spurt and he was forced to maintain his weight class by undergoing training similar to Rikiishi. All of these experiences result in a brutal championship match with Jose Mendoza that stretches to the point where the champ feels like he’s trapped in a nightmare.
The story culminates in a heart-breaking tragedy after Yabuki Joe manages to have both a family and a career as a successful boxer. Similar to Mac, Yabuki Joe pushed everyone around away in his pursuit of victory in the world of boxing.
With Gearless Joe’s medical problem already being established, Megalo Box Season 3 could have Gearless Joe desiring to keep Team Nowhere together and struggling to find meaning in a life separate from Megaloboxing. By necessity, Megalobox 3 would need a new approach since the characterization and motivations established so far has been very different from the tragedy of Yabuki Joe.
And it’s not like the ending of the anime requires a final death. After all, new growth can spring from the ashes, so it’s possible the writers could create yet another twist on the formula.
Let’s just hope TMS Entertainment figures out a way to make Megalo Box Season 3 seem fresh. Stay tuned!